My Life As A Hurricane

There is Great Opportunity in What Lies Ahead

Our community is used to the threat of tropical weather. Usually, the early notices start with escalated threats that ultimately result in a windy rain storm passing over our area causing very little damage.

In the hours leading up to the arrival of Hurricane Michael it became obvious this storm was going to be different. At 100 miles inland, we were too far north to be part of the normal evacuation plan. Meteorologists began forecasting that the storm would still be holding hurricane strength by the time it reached us. Our home was well within the forecasted cone of the most intense blows. We hunkered down watching the news and tracking the storm through every available medium. Then, just as the storm made landfall on the coast, all power, internet, and cell service was lost. So, we sat . . . and waited . . . not knowing what was coming. As the hours passed, it was impossible to know if what we were experiencing was the worst or just the beginning.

My D-day was May 4, 2017 at 8:00 P.M. I always thought the initial discovery was similar to that feeling you get immediately after hitting your thumb with a hammer. While you can't feel it yet, you know it's about to hurt like hell. As we sat and waited during the storm I realized D-day was also similar to the feeling of waiting on a hurricane. A destructive force beyond my control was on its way, and I had no idea what my world was going to look like in the morning.

As I sat in reflection I began contemplating what the "present me" would say to the "18 months ago me" on the initial night of discovery. No doubt, I have changed in many ways since the night this recovery journey began. I think my insight would've sounded something like this:

You have just experienced major trauma, and this is going to take a lot longer to make sense of than you can comprehend right now. While some of the unexplainable problems in your marriage just became crystal clear, others will not be evident for some time.

You only knew parts of your wife. There is a darkness in her that was fostered at a young age by years of abuse and dysfunction that developed her into a woman who was capable of using sex as a coping skill. In her current state, she is unconscionably self-absorbed, allowing herself to be destructively consumed with satisfying an unquenchable need to be validated and praised. You did not create this, you could not have known it was coming, and you cannot fix her. Therefore, we are not going to focus on her. Our energy is needed elsewhere - we have work to do to save you.

There is great opportunity in what lies ahead. Whether you accept it or not, it is about to become painfully obvious how little control you have over anyone around you; especially your wife. For a while, you will have great trouble controlling your own mind and emotions. Dark emotions will consume you and visions of deviant and disgusting betrayals by your wife will haunt your thoughts. You will not be able to eat or sleep and you will feel more alone than you ever knew was possible. For the first time in your life, death will seem like a viable solution to your problems. At times, you are going to want desperately to sweep the betrayals away and move on quickly. Fight this urge, it will not work. Walk through where you are now and remember that this pain is really just a feeling. It is small and you are greater than it is. I will have to remind you of this fact often as we walk ahead. The only way to the other side, with you intact, is to fully immerse yourself in grieving all you have lost. The process will have many similarities to the one you experienced when you lost your father too early, but the pain will be greater, and the isolation will be new.

Practically speaking, you are going to need some professional help… as soon as you can get it. Unfortunately, it may not be easy to find. Infidelity as a trauma is relatively new science, and it is lagging in its development, especially for betrayed men. Family, friends, your church, even many therapists who mean well and truly care for you, simply do not know how to help. Know that competent resources are out there, but be patient in locating the right source. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and we need to start with the right help.

Friendships are going to shift. Some old friends will grow distant while new friends will emerge. Relationships that were safe places to share the struggles of life with yesterday may not be today. Just let this be. Your instincts to be cautious in who you talk to about this are healthy. We are going to lean on God like you never have before; He has you. He will provide help. We just have to humble ourselves to accept it, even when it comes in unexpected forms.

For years you have given sound judgment to clients in your law practice advising them not to make decisions quickly or based on emotions. As you say, "If it is a good idea today, then it will be a good idea tomorrow." Now it's time for you to follow your own advice. Do not make any major decisions about anything you do not have to until you know you are ready. This may take a long time.

Do you remember that guy in high school? The Ferris Bueller type who seemed to be as comfortable with the nerds as he was the jocks? You remember how people followed you in college, how you could bridge a room divided in opinions and personalities? While you are grown up now and know well how to navigate black tie evenings and complex negotiations, perhaps it's time to admit you are still more comfortable at the kids' table come Thanksgiving. Somewhere along the way we let pieces of you get overrun with ambition and achievement. Let's take the time needed to go find those lost traits again, they are valuable.

It is time to remember where you came from, the integrity of your parents and grandfather, the values they modeled for you. Oh . . . and that faith of yours that you've become so casual with… why is that?

Time will tell what becomes of her. You allowed yourself to be defined by your marriage and in doing so you created an idol of it. God only wants relationships that grow His will for you, and His will is never to harm you. Yes . . . that means you are greater than your marriage. You are not defined by her selfish and humiliating acts. Patience and grace on yourself my friend.

We will rise.

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Thank you

I would like to thank you for this new blog. My D-day was almost three years ago now. My husband moved out suddenly without explanation and then discovery cametwo weeks later. We have been separated since and I have been in counseling, but he has refused any help, even from our pastor. He blames me for everything and I finally went to see an attorney in March of this year. When I told him I had seen an attorney, he began the divorce process with his own attorney. I did not want a divorce, and I believe that had he gotten help for himself, we could have survived this, but as you have discovered, we cannot control the other person and the path they choose to take. Your blog really spoke to me and your words were exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you for sharing your story.

Well said!

I can’t tell you how impactful your words were to yourself (ourselves as early Betrayed). It seems that you have grasped these major lessons early on and have been able to hit so many key points on how things will play out, we’re not the cause or to blame, and that we have to focus on our healing. So many hard lessons/concepts to grasp in our pain.

Thank you for your timely reminders that are relevant even when one is further down the timeline than 18 months.

Beautiful

I am nearly at the same timeline. Have these same thoughts and many struggles along the way. You wrote this very thoughtfully and it is appreciated. Good luck on your continued recovery and great job on giving back to the rest of us.

Thank you for reading and

Thank you for reading and commenting. While I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy, it has definitely been a catalyst for more personal growth and change than I have ever experienced in my adult life. To hope and healing!

Thank you, Chase. I can

Thank you, Chase. I can really relate. Yes, to reflect on dark behaviors of my husband is very isolating. I certainly made an idol of my husband and my marriage - ignoring the things that did not match my fantasy or that might hurt of I examined too closely.. As painful as it is, I am now living in the truth and focusing on saving myself, too, whether or not my marriage survives.

Thank you, Chase!

Thank you, Chase!

I second that, beautiful. I can relate to so much of your blogs, this and “Chutes and Ladders.” I am also an attorney and betrayed spouse. Our timelines are also similar, and my husband has been using sex to cope with childhood wounds (I discovered this mid 2016, with 2 other relapses).

Thank you for your insight, best of luck on this life-altering journey, and God be with us all. Please keep blogging! :)

Thank you

Seems to be a few of us barristers out here... Thank you for your kind words and feed back. There will be more to come. We each have our unique path to healing, not sure I would've ever predictted blogging as would be a part of mine. Initially I was certain what I really needed to do was somehow get a lid on this madness... but here I am and I must admit it feels liberating to get this out in print. Glad someone can relate.

Awestruck

This reading was perfect for me yesterday. My counselor had just asked me this question the day before, "What would you tell yourself 2.5 years ago when you started this journey?" Your description is so on-point for my experience and marriage. Thank you for putting this into words. So powerful. I also read it aloud to a few members of my support group, and they were moved at well.

Appreciate Your Words

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments. Even after all this work, I still find myself at times questioning am I the only one feeling this crazy... even though I know that is not the case. Always good to hear others can relate.

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